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Must Read: 5 likely cyber attacks

November 3rd, 2021

The 5 cyber attacks you’re most likely to face.

We found this great story, and wanted to repost it for you.

Don’t be distracted by the exploit of the week. Invest your time and money defending against the threats you’re apt to confront.

The threats companies think they face are often vastly different than the threats that pose the greatest risk. The fact is most companies face the same threats — and should be doing their utmost to counteract those risks. Here are the five most common successful cyber attacks.

Cyber attack No. 1: Socially engineered Trojans

Socially engineered Trojans provide the No. 1 method of attack (not an exploit or a misconfiguration or a buffer overflow). An end-user browses to a website usually trusted — which prompts him or her to run a Trojan. Most of the time the website is a legitimate, innocent victim that has been temporarily compromised by hackers. Usually, the website tells users they are infected by viruses and need to run fake antivirus software. Also, they’re nearly out of free disk space and need a fake disk defragger. Finally, they must install an otherwise unnecessary program, often a fake Adobe Reader or an equally well-known program. The user executes the malware, clicking past browser warnings that the program could possibly be harmful. Voilà, exploit accomplished! Socially engineered Trojans are responsible for hundreds of millions of successful hacks each year. Against those numbers, all other hacking types are just noise.

Countermeasure: Social engineered Trojans are best handled through end-user education that’s informed by today’s threats (such as trusted websites prompting users to run Trojans). Enterprises can further protect themselves by not allowing elevated users to surf the Web or answer email. An up-to-date anti-malware program can’t hurt, but strong end-user education provides better bang for the buck.

Cyber attack No. 2: Unpatched software

Coming in a distant second is software with known, but unpatched exploits. The most common unpatched and exploited programs are Java, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Flash. It’s been this way for a few years now. But strangely, not a single company I’ve ever audited has ever had these three programs perfectly patched. I just don’t get it.

Countermeasure: Stop what you’re doing right now and make sure your patching is perfect. If you can’t, make sure it’s perfect around the top most exploited products, including Java, Adobe, browser admins, OS patches, and more. Everyone knows that better patching is a great way to decrease risk. Become one of the few organizations that actually does it.

Cyber attack No. 3: Phishing attacks

Approximately 70 percent of email is spam. Fortunately, anti-spam vendors have made great strides, so most of us have reasonably clean inboxes. Nonetheless, I get several spam emails each day, and a least a few of them each week are darned good phishing replicas of legitimate emails.

I think of an effective phishing email as a corrupted work of art: Everything looks great; it even warns the reader not to fall for fraudulent emails. The only thing that gives them away is the rogue link asking for confidential information.

Countermeasure: Decreasing risk from phishing attacks is mostly accomplished through better end-user education — and with better anti-phishing tools. Make sure your browser has anti-phishing capabilities. I also love browsers that highlight the domain name of a host in a URL string. That way windowsupdate.microsoft.com.malware.com, for example, is more obvious.

Cyber attack No. 4: Network-traveling worms

Computer viruses aren’t much of a threat anymore, but their network-traveling worm cousins are. Most organizations have had to fight worms like Conficker and Zeus. We don’t see the massive outbreaks of the past with email attachment worms, but the network-traveling variety is able to hide far better than its email relatives.

Countermeasure: Network-traveling worms can be defeated by blocking executables in email, better patching, disabling auto-run capabilities, and strong password policies. Many network worms, like Conficker, will try to exploit network shares by logging on using a list of built-in, bad passwords: 12345, password2, qwerty, and the like. If any of your passwords are listed in the password manifest inside of a worm, you do not have a strong password policy.

Cyber attack No. 5: Advanced persistent threats

Lastly, I only know of one major corporation that has not suffered a major compromise due to an APT (advanced persistent threat) stealing intellectual property. APTs usually gain a foothold using socially engineered Trojans or phishing attacks. A very popular method is for APT attackers to send a very specific phishing campaign — known as spear-phishing — to multiple employee email addresses. The phishing email contains a Trojan attachment, which at least one employee is tricked into running. After the initial execution and first computer takeover, APT attackers can compromise an entire enterprise in a matter of hours. It’s easy to accomplish, but a royal pain to clean up.

Countermeasure: Detecting and preventing an APT can be difficult, especially in the face of a determined adversary. All the previous advice applies, but you must also learn to understand the legitimate network traffic patterns in your network and alert on unexpected flows. An APT doesn’t understand which computers normally talk to which other computers, but you do. Take the time now to start tracking your network flows and get a good handle of what traffic should going from where to where. An APT will mess up and attempt to copy large amounts of data from a server to some other computer where that server does not normally communicate.When they do, you can catch them. There are other popular attack types, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, pass-the-hash, and password guessing, but they aren’t seen nearly at the same high levels as the five listed here. Protect yourself against the top five threats and you’ll go a long way to decreasing risk in your environment.

More than anything, I strongly encourage every enterprise to make sure its defenses and mitigations are aligned with the top threats.
Don’t be one of those companies that spends money on high-dollar, high-visibility projects while the bad guys continue to sneak in using routes that could have easily been blocked.

This story, “The 5 cyber attacks you’re most likely to face,” was originally published at InfoWorld.com By Roger A. Grimes


Simple Steps to Avoid Losing Data

April 13th, 2021

Data loss is a huge business problem that can be avoided by just following a few simple steps.

Information on your computer is highly valuable, and it is important to take all possible precautions to avoid a disaster that could end up costing you money and time. We came across this guideline from werecoverdata.com and believe it can be of value to you! Save yourself the hassle and use the following tips to protect your data!

Safety tips to avoid data loss

  • Always back up your data, especially when upgrading your system. Make sure that copies of your most important data are being kept off-site
  • Always turn your computer off using the operating system shut down process
  • Always use up-to-date hardware and software utilities for data security, such as virus protections and firewalls
  • Laptops should be operated on a hard and flat surface to allow proper ventilation and to avoid over heating
  • Servers should have fans, ventilation or portable air conditioning systems as close as possible to avoid operating in high temperatures.
  • Allow enough space around the external drive’s cooling fans and remove any items that may block air flow
  • Do not turn off peripheral devices while computer is on, or when disc is active
  • Drives should be stable and stationary when operating. If you have to move your computer – turn it off first
  • When touching or handling the media, make sure to avoid static electricity
  • If you hear unusual sounds coming from your computer, turn it off immediately to avoid further damage.

If Your System Fails, Could You Recover?

Call now to ask questions: 800-418-2358

Disasters do happen.

The question is, when something fails, will it be a temporary inconvenience or a business-shaking crisis?  When a hard drive crashes, can you be back in business in hours? If a natural disaster shuts your network down, can you recover every business-critical application that day?

The Computer Company prevents natural and man-made disasters from becoming computer and business disasters.

  • Replication
  • Off-site Back ups
  • Data Center
  • Business Continuity
  • Remote Office Space

We offer a full range of disaster recovery consulting services, practices, and solutions for your business to prevent many events, minimize any damage, and return your system to its full capabilities as soon as possible.  We do disaster recovery right.

Call now to ask questions: 800-418-2358

 

How to Keep Your Health Info Private in the Digital Age

December 21st, 2020

Today’s consumers have health and fitness literally at their fingertips. There are smartphone apps to help track calories. There are wearable devices to count steps per day or to help ensure you’re getting enough sleep at night. There are even Facebook groups to help you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals.

Although healthy industry regulations require medical providers to protect consumer health data, those regulations often don’t extend to health-related apps, social media, or wearable tech.

The Computer Company offers these need-to-know tips when it comes to keeping your health records safe:
What Companies Must Legally Protect My Health Information?

“Currently the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules protect health data in traditional settings, however, it doesn’t extend to health apps compliance. Many of the companies providing these technologies share consumers’ data with other entities, with no regard for privacy, without repercussion,” explains Compliancy Group. Read more.

The National Institutes of Health states that “Covered entities are defined in the HIPAA rules as (1) health plans, (2) health care clearinghouses, and (3) health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards. Generally, these transactions concern billing and payment for services or insurance coverage. For example, hospitals, academic medical centers, physicians, and other health care providers who electronically transmit claims transaction information directly or through an intermediary to a health plan are covered entities. Covered entities can be institutions, organizations, or persons.” Read more.

 

Why Should I Care Who Has Access to My Information?

“Here’s the reality of life as a wearable device owner: There’s no doctor/patient privacy or patient privacy or any privacy for that matter,” Huffington Post notes. “Monitoring your health and collecting data is like publishing your own medical autobiography online.” Read more.

PBS.org reports that with its recent purchase of FitBit, Google has stated that privacy and security are a top priority, but consumer “advocates say Google and other tech companies need to prove that only a small percent — if any — of the data they release can be rematched with individual users …

The threat of re-identification has led privacy advocates to question the motives of companies that create health apps, which have not been proven to improve health.” Read more.

 

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

The BBC reports that there’s “too much onus on the consumer to navigate an opting-out system” along with “the fear that hackers could access [databases] and find the details of individual users.” Read more.

When using social networking sites, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse states that users “become familiar with the privacy settings available on any social network you use, and review your privacy settings frequently. On Facebook, for example, you may want to make sure that your default privacy setting is ‘Friends Only.’ Alternatively, use the ‘Custom’ setting and configure the setting to achieve maximum privacy.” Read more.

 

How Should Healthcare Providers Protect My Medical Information?

First, it’s wise to get an idea of what constitutes a HIPAA violation. According to Zeguro “Although HIPAA violations arise in a variety of ways, they all incorporate “someone who shouldn’t know something who learns about it because there weren’t enough protections.” This definition includes everything from employees having too much system access, to a hacker gaining entrance to your system, to someone leaving a piece of paper on a desk or a screen open to view. Read more.

“Healthcare organizations, while under fire, have been improving their cybersecurity posture over the last few years. Many have hired cybersecurity professionals from more mature industries, like financial services; most are working to adopt strong frameworks such as ISO, NIST, and HITRUST to evaluate and improve cybersecurity controls, including security awareness training for the healthcare workforce,” explains Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report. Read more.

Navigating health laws and data privacy can feel complicated and overwhelming at times. Start by understanding the current laws, regulations, and health privacy certifications, such as HIPAA and HITRUST. Do some research before investing in wearable tech or signing up for an app or social account. Above all, read the privacy policies and review the settings for any software or hardware you use. By following the tips listed in this article, you’ll stand a better chance of keeping your medical data safe.

Contributed by:
Diane Harrison

diane@healthpsa.info

 

 

 

 

Ransomware Assault Threatens US Healthcare System

October 29th, 2020

FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system: At least 5 hospitals have been hit this week.

USA TODAY, Michael James, October 28, 2020

Federal agents warned Wednesday that a major ransomware assault is underway against U.S. hospitals, some of which have already been attacked by a shadowy band of cybercriminals.

Ransomware is an increasing threat to U.S. healthcare and has already cost hospitals tens of millions in recent years. A typical attack encrypts important data — such as patient records and billing information — until the hospital agrees to pay an exorbitant sum for ransom, usually in the form of Bitcoin or other digital currency.

Wednesday’s alert came from a joint federal task force that includes the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

At least five hospitals were hit with the ransomware attacks this week, the federal agencies said.

“We are experiencing the most significant cyber security threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said in a statement. He’s concerned that the group may deploy malware to hundreds of hospitals over the next few weeks.

Ransomware attempts jumped 50% in the last three months, over the first half of 2020, and hospitals and health care organizations were the hardest hit, according to a study earlier this year by Check Point research.

Typical attacks demand several hundred thousand dollars and some have demanded $5 million or more, the research group concluded. Hospitals are often targeted because criminals know they are more likely to pay than other businesses. That’s because hospitals can’t shut down for long without impacting patient care.
Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system

Cloud Computing for Business
Move Your Business Online
Get Your Free Quote Today

Call now to ask questions: 800-418-2358

Top Ten Reasons Why businesses are moving to the Cloud.

September 4th, 2020

Why are businesses moving to the cloud?

Top ten reasons. 

1. Work from any where, any time, any device

With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection, you can be at workImproves communications, work efficiency and effectiveness. Allows you to fill blank spots in your workday, become more responsive, builds more controlled “think time”  and/or “your time” when you want it!

2. Security

Because your files are stored in the cloud, you will have comfort in the knowledge that your business’s computing-server hardware, software and stored electronic data is protected in a 21st century “state of the art” fortified environment  with certified personnel oversight 24 hours a day, every day, year round!

3. Cut Hardware Cost

Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware. Eliminates any or all “mainframe” computing costs, regardless of growth and fluctuations in business or data!  Provides for multi-year cost containment regarding computing and storage. You simply pay for what you need. All the management and setup is done by us.

4. Low Per User Core Pricing

Our controlled and focused growth ambitions together with private ownership allow for a favorable pricing environment which we are pleased to share with you.

5. Extraordinary Back Up Protection and Disaster Recovery

Our self imposed demand for unmatched backup is key to your protection and our success. (Ask us for details when you’re ready to buy.) The Computer Company’s Cloud Service provides an easy and definitive pathway for data recovery solutions.

6. Support Expediency

Our goal is to have you utilize our services when needed and when you cannot or wish not to provide them yourselves.

We are currently developing an ” IT ASSOCIATE Program for back up within your business. IT Associates will be trained by us to help you internally directly or indirectly for IT support.  

7. Customer Growth and Retention

SAFETY SELLS! Your customers and prospects hear and may experience loss caused by lax security anywhere. The safer their information is with you, the better they will feel about you.

Whether the security is tied to weather, storms, electrical power or to cyberspace intrusion, hacking or internet fraud, safety sells.

8. Automatic software updates

We do the server and security back ups for you. Leaving you free to focus on the things that matter more, like growing your business.

9. Vantage Position

The Computer Company’s Cloud Service has an OUTSTANDING LEGACY AS A  DATA CENTER AND IT PROVIDER.

The Computer Company Inc. has been an active IT provider since the mid 1990’s and a pioneer in the Cloud since the early 2000’s. We are in the unique position of not only hosting you in TCC Cloud but also in Amazon, Microsoft and other clouds. Conversely, we can provide full IT services and work with your choice of community IT provider. Transitions to and from your own private Cloud is a specialty along with transition planning based on your timing. We are positioned to meet your needs.

10. Rewards

We can help you reduce or even eliminate your TCC cloud costs!  How?
You help us by finding new customers, and we credit your account.

Not moved to the cloud yet?

It’s time.

A Cloud Service may cut your energy costs 90%!

February 10th, 2020

Cloud computing is becoming common and is transforming the way many businesses deliver and receive their IT services.

cloud Providers of cloud computing connects many businesses, small and large, to shared servers containing shared programs. This allows cloud customers to reduce their costs because they no longer need to purchase the infrastructure, let alone manage and maintain it. Cloud users have the ability to pay for the resources only as they need them.

They are no longer hindered by predicting server traffic; customers on the cloud are given the freedom to promote and grow their business online as strongly and as often as they want.

Call The Computer Company at 800.418.2358 and get your questions answered.

  • However, not only does cloud computing save the customer money, providers of cloud computing are actually administering a green, sustainable way to run a business.
  • A study conducted by Microsoft found that organizations, ranging from 100 to 1000 employees, can reduce up to 90 percent of their emissions by moving their business from on-premise business applications to those within a shared cloud.
  • While Microsoft conducted the test on only their products, it is safe to say the findings apply to other cloud computing solutions.
  • IT administrators should take advantage of the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact and achieve sustainability goals.

Why does this matter to you?

If you run a small business, your server infrastructure can be highly expensive to operate and may run at low utilization or even be idle for a good portion of the day. On-premise applications tend to run at a lower average utilization rate. Instead of taking on expense and maintenance hassles for on-site technology, invest in cloud computing. As the number of users in a cloud increases, the user-to-server ratio increases, and demand fluctuations decrease. This means demand can be predicted and allocated appropriately without deploying “just-in-case” infrastructure. Servers can function at a stable rate, with a lower energy cost.

Join the thousands of businesses who have decreased their energy costs and reduced their carbon footprint by sharing “cloud” services with other users. The Computer Company, Inc. is ready to support both the growth and sustainability goals of your business with cloud computing options.

Call The Computer Company at 800.418.2358 and get your questions answered.


 

Email Encryption – Protect your Business

October 1st, 2019

Often businesses gather customer information and exchange emails with private information with customers, including details such as names, address, phone numbers, bank account details and credit card numbers.

The problem is that many companies conduct business through unsecured email.

What does this mean to you?

It means if someone intercepts your email they can steal your personal and financial data. Big problem! Because the stolen data can be used by the criminals for online purchasing or total identity theft.

For example, a few years back…

Target customers were hit in major credit card security breach (imagine if that was YOUR business!?)

Payment card information was stolen from an unknown number of Target Corp. customers starting on the busy Black Friday weekend. The Secret Service is investigating, according to a spokesman for the agency, which safeguards the nation’s payment systems. Target officials did not respond to requests for comment.

  • The breach involved nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores in the United States.
  • The report said that at least 1 million payment cards were thought to have been stolen before Target uncovered the operation, but that the number could be significantly higher.

When all is said, and done, this one will put its mark up there with some of the largest retail breaches to date. As noted this has already happened to larger companies such as Target, Citibank and Sony, and should cause small business owners to think seriously about email security.

So, what can you do?

One of the easiest options is email encryption, did we mention it is easy? Yes, real easy.

Why do it? Email encryption offers you an extra layer of security, as the data inside the email is secured and cannot be opened or read by anyone who is not authorized to do so.

The software is available today from The Computer Company and it is a good investment as it offers the necessary protection.

  1. Host-based encryption software is where you set up an email domain on the server of the data encryption company to provide your business the needed security.
  2. This method can also be used to guard your system against spam, viruses and phishing attacks which is also a welcome added option.
  3. This is a good way of keeping virus attachments away from your system and it also prevents hackers getting into your system and then sending out spam from your system.
  4. It can also help to stop the hackers sending phishing emails from your company for financial gain.
  5. Encryption software is definitely worth considering for your business as it can keep your emails secure and also save you money by preventing the theft of your data.

For a free evaluation of your circumstances or a demonstration of our email encryption solution please contact us today.

Call the Direct Help Line :: 800.418.2358

Mobile is Growing.

February 8th, 2019

Mobile Statistics You Need to Know About.

The World Has Gone Mobile. In the United States, of the 260 million adults, 88% have a mobile phone, and roughly half have a tablet.

Mobile phones offer one option to drive sales and conversions. One of the mobile commerce trends that is creating a whole new stream of revenue is tablet users. In the United States, mobile commerce sales on tablets will to grow to $77 billion by 2019. The great thing about sales on tablets is the fact that there is more real estate to work with, giving brands the opportunity to go draw customers into immersive, engaging experiences.

Mobile Coupons

Over 105 million adults in the US used mobile coupons in 2016. This is a clear sign that whether it’s through SMS or push, mobile engagement drives sales directly. With the spread of mobile wallets on Android and iOS continuing to grow, sales on smartphones and tablets will continue to grow.

Important Mobile Commerce and Engagement Statistics You Need to Know About.

  • 75% of Americans bring their phones or tablets to the bathroom.
  • 80% of shoppers admit that they’re more likely to purchase from and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience (Source: Huffington Post)
  • 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media (Source: Relevanza)
  • 62% of shoppers search for deals digitally for at least half of their shopping trips (Source:GMA/Booz & Company Shopper Survey)
  • 55% of US Internet users will redeem a digital coupon or code at least once per year (Source: Digital Marketer)
  • 80 percent of mobile users prefer locally relevant advertising and 75 percent are more likely to take an action after seeing a location-specific message (Source: Mobile Audience Insights Report from JiWire)
  • Mobile app store revenues worldwide are projected to grow to US $76.5 billion in 2017 (Source: CMO Council)
  • 44% of consumers say that they would like brands to deliver deals and coupons to their mobile devices (Source: CMO Council)
  • More than 33.3 million U.S. consumers already engage in shopping-related activities on their mobile phones, 7%, or 2.3 million, of those consumers have made a purchase on their devices, the report finds (Source: Experian Simmons, Mobile Consumer Report)
  • 87% of millennials always have their smartphone at their side, day and night.
  • 78% of millennials spend over 2 hours a day using their smartphones.
  • 68% of millennials consider their smartphone to be a personal device (Source: CMO Council)
  • 46 percent of consumers have used their phone to get product information while in a store (Source: Briabe Media)
  • 75% of heavy mobile users said mobile search makes their lives easier, 63% said access to mobile search has changed the way they gather information, and 32% said they use mobile search more than search engines on their computers (Source: Performics Mobile Search Insights Study, conducted by ROI Research)
  • 69% of retail executives said mobile is an important strategic initiative (Source: NRF)
  • 79% of smartphone users found it useful to download mobile coupons to their phones (Source: Accenture, reported by Internet Retailer)
  • 73% of consumers find it useful to receive an instant coupon as they pass by an item in a store (Source: Accenture, reported by Internet Retailer)
  • 73% of shoppers with smartphones prefer to reference their mobile device while in-store rather than ask a sales associate for help (Source: Accenture, reported by Internet Retailer)
  • 62% of consumers use their smartphones to search for a store location or directions (Source: IDC Survey)
  • 40% search for price and product information (Source: IDC Survey)
  • 38% check the status of an order, and, while in store (Source: IDC Survey)
  • 32% browse product reviews (Source: IDC Survey)

So what’s the point?

There is not turning back. To stay competitive we all need to keep moving into the future.

Would You Like to Sell Products Online?

September 28th, 2017

We understand your needs.

When your goal is to sell products, you need the right infrastructure, navigation, and product descriptions that help make the sale. Selling your products is problem-free when customers can find what they are looking for, understand the product they are buying, and can purchase on demand. The Computer Company provides you with everything it takes to sell products and services online.

In today’s digital economy, people want to conduct business quickly, easily and wherever and whenever they feel like it. Therefore, in order to compete in the 21st century, a company must be conducting business 24/7.9

E-commerce Strategies for Shopping Carts

» Read more: Would You Like to Sell Products Online?

The Internet is your best opportunity to increase your business.

September 7th, 2017

The Internet IS your best opportunity to increase your business sales volume.

It still shocks us, how in this day and age, people can be so resistant to doing business on the web. I remember the owner of one apartment complex telling us how he doesn’t “believe in the web.” I wondered, how else are people going to find you? And consider this. He has an average of 10 empty apartments a month. So that’s an average loss of $1200 per unit, times 12 months…$144,000 a year! Wow! He won’t spend a dime on the web. If you are thinking, this doesn’t make sense, you are not alone in that thought.

The importance of growing your business and expanding your Web brand using all the strategic Internet tools available cannot be overstated.

  • Fresh updates
  • Online Videos showing your product or service.
  • SEO – get found by those waiting to buy from you.
  • Social Media.
  • Obtaining quality sales leads and gaining new customers online
  • Expanding market reach, communicating with existing customers
  • And increasing your company’s online sales reach should absolutely be a part of the overall strategic sales and marketing strategy for any business today. Why not?

With the exponential increase in the sheer number of people searching, business employees, B2B buyers, purchasing managers, engineers, and B2C consumers in all corners of the globe, searching the Internet on a daily basis; searching for new products, services, new technologies, and to shop at ecommerce websites online; it is imperative that the sales and marketing message being portrayed in the website be right on target with what they need.

The online marketing message is what sets a business apart from the competition, and provides the means for a website to be found in the search engines for the various keywords specific to each business. And, make no mistake about it, horizontal and vertical markets can be quickly tapped into using the Internet.

It is important not to underestimate the online sales web power of a website. It is the face of your company. It can be one of the most best web marketing strategies and online advertising communications that your company can invest in, which can significantly provide more sales and qualified leads through the various online marketing channels.

Learn 3 ways we can bring you more business –

Call today 800 418 2358.

What are you waiting for? Why wait? Do you want to start bringing in those new customers and sales leads via the Web? With The Computer Companies Web Services we can get your website found online in the search engine results. Contact us today for an online marketing services quote and start bringing in more leads and sales results for your business tomorrow. Utilize the power of the web.